Bay windows on the first floor (and eventually on higher floors too) are common in 19th century civil architecture in Anatolia. In medium-sized and larger homes, the ground floor was organised as a ‘service area’ (depots, kitchen, residence of the staff, etc.). The ‘harem’ (= private living area for the owner’s family), as well as the ‘Selamlık’ (reception room where male visitors were received) were located at the upper floors, beginning with the first floor.
The main room of the ‘harem’, where the women of the household spend most of their free time, was generally located at the street side of the house, and often had such bay windows (called ‘cumba’ in Turkish). These windows were (almost always) equipped with wooden grills: the women could easily keep an eye on what was going on in the street, without being seen by (male) passers-by. So, the ‘harem’ – a closed and sacred area, when observed from the outside – appears to have had eyes that observed the outer world (and did so without its knowledge).
Correspondent: J.M.Criel, Antwerpen.
Source: ‘Anadolu Mirasında Türk Evleri’ (T.C. Kültür Bakanlığı) 1995.